2021 outlook for platinum recycling remains buoyant

This year, the recovery of platinum from spent autocatalysts is forecast to recover most of the losses sustained in 2020, rising by 6% (+84 koz) year-on-year to 1,517 koz; this will still be the second highest total on record.

The key factor underpinning this recovery will be the growing supply of scrapped vehicles that were fitted with rising levels of platinum loadings in after treatment systems, especially in Europe, as the emission catalyst components were designed to meet the more stringent Euro 4 regulations effective from 2006.

This in turn will see an increasing volume of diesel particulate filters enter the supply chain. Often manufactured using silicon carbide these take longer to treat, resulting in extended processing times.

Elevated PGM prices will also continue to encourage some auto yards to de-stock spent autocatalysts. This will add to the pressure on refiners, which are again expected to operate at close to full capacity.

Jewellery recycling this year is forecast to rise by 8% (+34 koz) to 456 koz, as all regions are forecast to have higher recycle volumes as logistic limitations related to COVID-19 diminish.


The demand in 2021 is to grow by 3% (+254 koz) to 7,992 koz, driven by a recovery in automotive, jewellery and industrial demand. The council forecasts a drop of 51% (-793 koz) in investment as we do not forecast a similar growth in NYMEX approved stocks seen in 2020 and it expects a more moderate growth in net ETF holdings. The WPIC also forecast lower buying of platinum bars and coins this year.

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